Thursday, March 6, 2014

How Low Can They Go?



Add this to the most basic of American values which all Senate Republicans (and a few Democrats) reject: the right of the accused to have legal representation. How else to explain their rejection of President Obama's nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department? Overtly, nearly all of them -- including those few gutless Democrats -- stated that, somehow, people just can't have confidence in a man who defended, as the law requires, as was his job, a cop-killer.

Well, that and the fact that the last thing any of today's Rs want is someone snooping around their voter disenfranchisement efforts, or their pushing of Christianity as the national creed, or their denial of basic rights to homosexuals. (Where those few Ds fit in that putrid place, I'm not sure I know. Spinelessness does come to mind, though.) They've been against the very concept of a civil rights division since the first dinosaur ate the first spawn of Adam.

Far as I can tell, none of his detractors suggested he was somehow deficient in qualification or legal skills. (And how many people with African-sounding names can a government have, anyway?)

For me it's a little personal. My dad, aunt, and brother are or were attorneys. When I was in Vietnam, my security clearance was held up because my background check revealed that, many years earlier, my dad had had as a client the brother (not the man: his brother) of a former head of the Oregon Communist Party. Really? On that basis I was denied clearance? A brother. Of a former. Decades earlier. My dad, doing his job. I got my clearance eventually, but not before pointing out that being an officer, by law [or something] included at minimum a "secret" clearance, the denial of which meant I couldn't attend the daily base security briefings as all other officers did. (Flying in a particular plane in which I flew required "top secret," but I wasn't even being given "secret,") So, I demanded, either give me the clearance or bust me to enlisted and, since I had no skills other than doctorly ones, send me home.

You believe in our criminal justice system, in due process, or you don't. To defend a criminal of whatever sort is not tantamount to agreeing with whatever it is he or she did. Those guys, mostly lawyers themselves (except for the spate of idiot Congressional doctors that teabaggers seem to love so), surely understand that. To imply otherwise, even as the latest excuse for stopping anything Obama does, is beneath even them.

If there were a floor to such matters. Which, clearly, there isn't.

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